Social media remains ubiquitous across the digital world, yet how people interact with it continues to change. Gone are the days when every little thing was shared on Facebook and its ilk; today, Pew Research notes that 55% of social media users are fed up with constant posting. The change in how social media is used and consumed nods to a more restrained use of such services, and a more reserved society in general. Being aware of what constitutes basic etiquette in modern social media is important in making sure you and your friend’s wishes are respected.
Reading the room
The first step in social media etiquette is knowing your audience. As The New York Times asserts, simple social media posts, no matter how innocuous, can harm people – an inadvertently posted snap can be something someone doesn’t want to be part of. Consider this at social gatherings. A wedding is a good example; more newly-weds are opting for an unplugged wedding, meaning they don’t want phones and cameras at the event past the bare minimum. Putting up social media posts and tags can throw that preparation in the face of the couple. This extends to other social events, too – a simple party might not be something someone wants to be tagged and snapped at. Always ask first before tagging, as simple as it might seem.
Social media of choice
Identity theft is not a crime confined to private areas – by contrast, social media is a major vector. CNBC have found a 25% rise in online fraud attempts since mid-2020, and a large number of these are linked to the freedom with which people put information onto social media – both their own, and other’s.
Once again, be judicious with what you upload and highlight to your friends on social media. Check permission before sharing photos or details of friends. This can protect their financial wellbeing in addition to ensuring you don’t tread on any toes.
Modern language absorbs microaggressions and prejudiced terms into common discourse. The sight of these on social media can be incredibly hurtful to affected groups – and especially within your own close social media circles, where friends might take more stock with your opinion and use of language.
In the progressive era that the modern digital community lives in, it’s more important than ever to get your language right. If you are struggling with what is or isn’t considered offensive, services like the ADA National Network provide lots of resources on how to make sure that your writing is inclusive. Using these as reference guides, and learning how to apply them, will help you to go that bit further for people across the digital world.
Modern social media etiquette is less about sharing everything carelessly, and more about taking it slow. By making sure that you are allowing everyone to have an equitable experience, you will make the internet a better place to be. Some day, that will be extended to your own experience.